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Linking Sustainability with Geographical Proximity in Food Supply Chains. An Indicator Selection Framework

Oriana Gava (), Francesca Galli (), Fabio Bartolini () and Gianluca Brunori ()
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Oriana Gava: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 80 via del Borghetto, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Francesca Galli: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 80 via del Borghetto, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Fabio Bartolini: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 80 via del Borghetto, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Gianluca Brunori: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 80 via del Borghetto, 56124 Pisa, Italy

Agriculture, 2018, vol. 8, issue 9, 1-22

Abstract: Despite policymakers’ promotion of food relocalization strategies for burden mitigation, the assumption that local food chains are more sustainable than the global ones might not hold. This literature review tries to highlight a possible framework for exploratory analyses that aim at associating sustainability with the geographical proximity of food supply chains. The purpose of the article is identifying a set of communicative and information-dense indicators for use by evaluators. Bread is the selected test food, given its importance in human nutrition and the relevance of some of its life cycle phases for land use (cereal farming) and trade (cereal commercialization). Article searching (including keyword selection, explicit inclusion/exclusion criteria, and computer-assisted screening using the NVivo ® software) was carried out over the Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases, and returned 29 documents (refereed and non-refereed publications). The retrieved literature shows varied research focus, methods, and depth of analyses. The review highlighted 39 environmental, 36 economic, and 27 social indicators, along the food chain. Indicators’ reporting chains are heterogeneous; even the comparison of standard procedures, e.g., Life Cycle Assessment, is not straightforward. Holistic approaches are missing.

Keywords: sustainability indicators; supply chain; local; global; water use; waste; breeding; product certification; business uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q1 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q15 Q16 Q17 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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